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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'm the laziest man on Earth.

But when my boss offered to slash my hours it taught me a lot about the work ethic.

by Tom Utley

About a year ago, my boss made me the most astonishingly generous offer I've ever had. If I liked, he said, I could work only one day a week instead of the usual four days of 11 hours each. Same money, an awful lot less work.

I said I liked very much indeed. In fact, this was everything I'd ever dreamed of.

I should have paid more attention to that ancient wisdom: be careful what you wish for.

Now, as my wife will testify, I'm the laziest man on Earth.

My idea of perfect contentment is to sit at the kitchen table in my pyjamas on a Saturday morning, a pile of unopened letters by my side, staring vacantly through the French windows at the unmown lawn, wondering vaguely if I'll ever summon the energy to have a shower and get dressed.

My theme tune - the desert island disc that I'll keep when all the others have been washed away - has always been the sublime Sloth Song by Flanders and Swann:

For days and days among the trees I sleep and dream and doze Just gently swaying in the breeze Suspended by my toes.

While eager beavers overhead Rush through the undergrowth I watch the clouds beneath my feet How sweet to be a sloth.

How sweet, indeed, promised to be the future of idleness stretching ahead of me, with only one day's work to do in every seven.

And so, for the first fortnight, it was.

With my wife at work and the boys at school, I spent my mornings wandering around the sights of London - Kensington Palace, the museums and galleries - enjoying them 50 times more on my own than in the days when I had four protesting sons in tow.

I'd have lunch in the pub, lingering for that extra pint or two, telling myself how lucky I was to have no work to hurry back to in the afternoon.

Then I'd look in on another gallery or just walk across the park to another pub.

By the end of my second week of liberation, however, my idyllic new life was already beginning to pall.

Tiring of culture, I'd ring friends to ask if they could sneak out for a drink or a bite of lunch. But they had jobs to do and were always too busy.

A sense of unease, far more troubling than mere boredom or loneliness, began to grip me...

Read the whole article.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.